It’s that time of year. A time to give thanks to everyone who helped make 85 kids Xmas a bit brighter.
For those of you unfamiliar with #refugexmas, it goes a bit like this. 3 years ago, a group of us decided we would give all the kids living in the refuge a bit of Xmas. It was all a bit overwhelming for everyone involved. I seem to remember 200 people bought presents for 40 or so kids. Some bought more than one, so we were inundated. Logistically, I was a bit out of my depth. I matched up each person with a child, we had a huge wrapping party, and we made up banana box food parcels for the women, I went to my first refuge xmas party and this is what that looked like. Things have changed somewhat. I now coordinate a larger group of Aunties, I think I’m a bit better at the SM stuff, and we are doing Xmas for more kids than ever, this year from 4 refuges and a whānau house that cares for families in crisis. This year, I tried a different tack. I asked people to send in gifts, so that there would be enough for heaps of kids, and also for birthdays throughout the next year. I had no idea if this would work or not, but it seemed to, as most things do in their own way. There were groups of people having buying sprees and people popping gift cards in the post. The pressies were stored in the storage unit – another new development – and we had a gathering of eight of us to wrap them all a couple of days before the refuge xmas party. The rest were delivered to their respective refuges, and it was done for another year.
Now, to be honest, it’s a logistical challenge. I’m learning all the time about what works best, and what not to do. For example: the willy nilly sending of presents works extremely well. For four years, I’ve been relying on people’s good will and generosity and none of you have let me down yet. What didn’t work so much was my disorganisation. Next year, bigger storage bins so I can sort age groups as I go, more effectively. And maybe start a little earlier. Provide presents for teenaged boys, who are notoriously difficult to get pressies for and who are easily forgotten in all the fuss. I’m also convinced I should coordinate people to send as many pressies as possible so that we have enough to take a good big load down to the City Mission.
So that’s next year. Be warned! I’ll be asking for pressies from October!
And back to this year. So many people to thank. Xmas has become, effectively, the only time when Aunties actually get to do stuff together, if in small groups. The shopping for the womens xmas baskets, and the wrapping. And that’s it. Other than that, Aunties don’t get to volunteer, really. I just ask for money and stuff, and it arrives and then I do the stuff that needs doing. So it’s a bit of a special thing, this Xmas malarkey. A lovely lovely thing.
Thank you to Paul and Abbey, Rachel and Chantel, Rosie and Alex who came to do the shopping for the women’s gift baskets. The fastest shopping trip yet, and the baskets turned out beautifully.
Thank you Hillary and Gloria and Alex for the gorgeous soaps and toiletries which were put in the staff gift baskets. They look forward to them every year!
Thanks to my lovely Helene who’s having a really rough time right now, and despite all that, gave me booty for the women – which got waylaid and delivered to the City Mission instead…..
Many thanks to DePaul House in Northcote who donated presents which were given to the City Mission, because we had so many.
Thank you to Mary, Kerry, Alison, Romilly, Susan, Trish and Claudine who sorted and wrapped all the presents and put up with me panicking and flapping my hands with said panic. We got it done though…..
Thanks to Kirsti for delivering a new bike to two very happy kids.
Thank you to Heather who coordinated presents for a couple of refuges in Christchurch, and got Sherry to bring another huge suitcase up for us as well!
Thanks to everyone who sent presents. Really. You went completely over the top, and actually that was just what was needed, and worked beautifully.
Thank you in particular to: Fliss, Penny, Hariata, Rikki, Kate, Claire, Allison, Siobhan, Victoria, Leonie, Rachel, Jenni, Phil, Julie, Michéle, Jackson, and everyone who sent, or brought me, presents for the kids. Some of you sent named boxes, some of you didn’t, and that’s likely something I need to do next year. Take a note of everyone’s names so I can thank you effectively!
Many thanks to everyone who put money in the givealittle so that we could fill the womens baskets and buy them PNS gift vouchers. Thank you Sue, Toni, B, Caroline, Sabine, David, Suzi, Tracey, Ceara, Georgie, Heather, and Jen amongst many anonymous others.
Many thanks to everyone who helped to make these women and kids have a better xmas than their last ones. And thanks especially to those of you who gave gifts and stuff for J, who has just had her baby and is feeling a little overwhelmed, and A* who is in a new home, free from pain (she calls her past her book of hurt), and absolutely thrilled with everyone’s kindness to her. Thanks to many of you, she not only has Xmas but also furniture!
Thank you above all to Michéle, Jackson, Elaine, Phil, Paul and Julie who, every day, have sent me gifs to cheer me on, and been such a bloody asset, I cannot be more thankful. They have made all of this so much easier.
Three years ago, all of this, The Aunties, had only just begun. Now, well, so much change has happened. So many good things have happened. So much love from you all to the women. Xmas is a time for kids, traditionally, but in this case, it really makes a difference for their mums, too. Thank you.